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Φωτογραφίες που άφησαν εποχή (3)

Page history last edited by Dimitris Stamatellis 7 years, 10 months ago

 

Εικόνα

The Photograph That Brought the Battlefield Home
"Federal Dead on the Field of Battle of First Day, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania"
Mathew Brady, 1863
As one of the world’s first war photographers, Mathew Brady didn’t start
out having as action-packed a career as you might think. A successful daguerreotypist and a distinguished gentleman, Brady was known for his portraits of notable people such as Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. In other words, he was hardly a photojournalist in the trenches.

In fact, Brady had everything to lose by making a career move – his money, his business, and quite possibly his life. Nevertheless, he decided to risk it all and follow the Union Army into battle with his camera, saying, "A spirit in my feet said, ‘Go!’" And go he did – at least until he got a good look at the pointy end of a Confederate bayonet.

After narrowly escaping capture at the first Battle of Bull Run, Brady’s chatty feet quieted down a bit, and he began sending assistants in his place. In the span of only a few years, Brady and his team shot more than 7,000 photographs – an astounding number when you consider that developing a single plate required a horse-drawn-wagon-full of cumbersome equipment and noxious chemicals. Not exactly what you’d call "point-and-shoot."

Tethered as he was to his equine-powered darkroom and with film speeds being much slower then, Brady produced war photos that are understandably light on the action and heavy on the aftermath. Still, they mark the first time Americans were so immediately confronted with the grim realities of the battlefield.



Εικόνα

"Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world," AP photojournalist Eddie Adams once wrote. A fitting quote for Adams, because his 1968 photograph of an officer shooting a handcuffed prisoner in the head at point-blank range not only earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1969, but also went a long way toward souring Americans’ attitudes about the Vietnam War.

For all the image’s political impact, though, the situation wasn’t as black-and-white as it’s rendered. What Adams’ photograph doesn’t reveal is that the man being shot was the captain of a Vietcong "revenge squad" that had executed dozens of unarmed civilians earlier the same day. Regardless, it instantly became an icon of the war’s savagery and made the official pulling the trigger – General Nguyen Ngoc Loan – its iconic villain.

Sadly, the photograph’s legacy would haunt Loan for the rest of his life. Following the war, he was reviled where ever he went. After an Australian VA hospital refused to treat him, he was transferred to the United States, where he was met with a massive (though unsuccessful) campaign to deport him. He eventually settled in Virginia and opened a restaurant but was forced to close it down as soon as his past caught up with him. Vandals scrawled "we know who you are" on his walls, and business dried up.

Adams felt so bad for Loan that he apologized for having taken the photo at all, admitting, "The general killed the Vietcong; I killed the general with my camera."



Zoom in (real dimensions: 410 x 599)Εικόνα

Picture from an Einsatzgruppen soldier’s personal album, labelled on the back as “Last Jew of Vinnitsa, it shows a member of Einsatzgruppe D is just about to shoot a Jewish man kneeling before a filled mass grave in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, in 1941. All 28,000 Jews from Vinnitsa and its surrounding areas were massacred at the time.

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